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My Husband Asked Me Not to Call Him at Work

My husband has recently asked me not to call him at work anymore. He says that I need to deal with HOME issues on my own. Which I do for the most part. The problem is though...he is a firefighter and works 48-96 hour shifts. Can you imagine not speaking to your husband for 2 straight days? He wont call home either. He said that he can't make long distance calls from the station. SO yes sometimes by the end of day 2-3 I am exhausted and call to complain/get support. If I do call the station the other guys are very rude and short with me and I know that my husband has told them how I cannot cope and bother him all the time. That is not necessarily true. He also cancelled his cell phone. That was actually about a year ago though. I feel like this is so unfair. We have 3 daughters full-time and occasionally I have his other 2 kids from a previous too. SAHM--yes....Single Mom--No. One final worry is that this is how he treated his ex-wife when he and I began dating. Maybe I am just being paranoid. Any words of wisdom?
***He WAS NOT MARRIED when we were dating...please read the update below for more info. :)

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

**2/28/2008Thanks for all of the support girls. Let me clarify the he WAS NOT MARRIED when we dated. He was living apart and going thru a nasty divorce. He DID NOT CHEAT. Sorry that was confusing to some of you. OMG I would never allow that to happen. My fear is that he is pulling away and maybe thinking about giving up on the marriage---NOT cheating, I sure hope not anyways. I think I will just give hime some space. I wont call for a while and phone a girlfriend when I need to vent or just wanna chat. I will also try to include him more in the things that the girls and I do. (Yes "5" girls) Maybe he feels a little left out. We get so used to it being just us that we tend to not even ask if he wants to join anymore. I thought that maybe he preferred it that way. Let me work on it for a week or so and I will update then. :)

***So the more I read the more I begin to question it. He ABSOLUTELY refuses to carry a cell phone. He called it a ball & chain and said never again! I thought it was kinda wierd, but now I KNOW it is. Also I have never called the station more than 2x in a day. He used to call me all the time. Now he says he can't call LD and has no cell to call either. He did say I can e-mail him if I need something.

Not good. He has become a total jerk at this point. He puts me down all of the time and does so in front of my girls. I don't want them growing up believing that this is how a man should treat a woman. He has always been a controlling bastard, so I can't really say this surprises me. But he has never been this cruel. In his words, I am a lazy as* bit*h and a pathetic usesless human being who can't manage my kids and my household let alone survive on my own. Guess that says it all. What a wonderful and loving husband I have. Well anyways, to keep it short and sweet...burn me once shame on you...burn me twice...well you know! Thanks for all of your love and support. -Sher

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I have 2 grandsons that are firefighters and married with children. They cannot wait to hear from their wifes and children. This husband needs an attitude adjustment. I do not think it should be an every 1/2 hr. phone call but once a day or evening would be fine. HE SHOULD NOT OBJECT TO THIS AT ALL.
I would like to know what his reason is?

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So isn't it his home too, therefore, home issues are his to deal with also!!!! I'd have a heart to heart and tell him it is part of his responsibility as a husband to support you. If he can't be supportive to his spouse, what't the point of being together? Find out what the real problem is. It sounds like there is more to the issue than phone calls at work. Do you have friends to talk with? Do you have family to talk with? Maybe you need another outlet.

Have you sat him down and truly talked to him how this makes you feel? I think he might be hiding something. there has to be a reason he is basically shuttin you out.
time to start asking some serious questions.

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I can't even begin to pretend to know what your situation is like. All I know is that my wife and I have only our first child, we both work full time, she at her job and myself building my business. Our son alone is a handfull and when I watch him I get nothing done... this is frustrating but he is only 11 months old and still needs the attention (or is it that he just wants to play with dad's computer?). My point is this, my wife and I make sure that we keep a team attitude towards how we raise our son (and any future children).

It appears from what you wrote that you and your husband either don't have your team roles established or have two different ideas of what eachothers roles should be. If you feel that it is safe to have a conversation with your husband about what the roles should be and how your own family team structure is I would suggest trying to have that conversation. I would not bring up your concerns about him cheating on you... yet. First see if he is willing to talk about being a family team.

Be prepared to have your husband tell you that he sees it that you being at home with the children is your "job." And remember that you are at this moment from what I gather by your message a stay at home mother. A very difficult and underpaid position, not to mention under thanked, but can have huge emotional rewards. His "job" is to work very hard and bring home the pay check. While this can be construde as a sexist view point, it depends on whether or not he believes there is no other way for things to be. In other words does he believe that you should not ever consider working outside the home? If he believes that you could work outside the home and this something you want to do then you have to think about how that will effect the rest of the team... your husband's work schedule is not going to be able change given the position he holds. So that will mean that you will not only be working outside the home, but then your current duties of preparing meals and other child care will still need to be performed on the days that your husband is working. Unless your financial position is such that you can afford to hire help.

I personally think it unfair for your husband to expect you to do it all. If after you and your husband have this talk, and you still have the feeling of him cheating on you or you don't see any change (NOTE: it wont all happen at once, we don't work that way most of the time, and we may not change at all without you GENTLY pointing out the things you want us to change)that would be the time to bring up your concerns about that. I hope this helps some.

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How does he treat you when He's home ? you have 3 kids that's alot - & his 2 kids as well - 5 kids ? whoa.

The ex-wife concern may be very valid ? Get the book 'Why does he do that ?' by Lundy Bancroft. If you 'see' your husband in their then you do have alot of work to do.

He needs to respect the fact that it is a partnership and you do need support - No doubt firefighting is stressful - but those guys often have lots of down time.It sounds like he is in a pretty macho environment and he doesn't want to 'pulled' out of it. It is pretty immature not to want to look like you answer to your wife.

Then again can you honestly say you keep good boundries around the calls ?

Can he offer something in exchange - some outside help - more time away for you ?

Does he acknowledge your work and contribution ? That is key.

Good Luck,


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S., I totally feel you. However, my husband does not work away from the home yet when he is at home (late night) he is already drunk or well on his way. Therefore, it is as if he is not there. Due to this situation I too have no one to discuss how the day was or any home or family situations that might need to be dealt with, let alone something that may require a mutual decision from the both of us. My only was of trying to cope with this is to call my best friend who will not judge me in any way even if it does seem that I am complaining all the time. I received this saying a while back and boy does it have some truth...

"Be who you are and say what you feel...
Because those that matter... don't mind...
And those that mind.. don't matter."

Therefore, I suggest that you find someone that you can use as a complaint department or just someone to help you discuss issues you may need help with on make a decision. Make sure it is someone who only wants what is best for you and your children. Second, if you need to start addressing home decisions on your own (bills, kids, home repairs, etc.) then do it and when he asks why you didn't consult with him, you can very calmly explain he was not available and a decision had to be made at that time. Unfortunately, even if I discuss issues that need to be addressed with my husband it is wasted breath due to his clouded head from drinking...even when he is only buzzed it still affects his focus. Be thankful you don't have that too. Lastly, as I just said, thank God every day for the good things you do have! Remember, your kids are healthy and take every chance you get to enjoy them. Get out, discover new things with them. Before you know it, they are gone. Yet, as someone said before, find some time for just you. Have a friend or family watch the kids for a couple of hours so you can clear your head. Even if it is just a warm bubble bath with some nice music, candle light and a glass of wine.

Good luck and I hope and pray good things will come your way!

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Great comments below! And good question about when he is home. Is there a balance, or do you wait on him hand and foot to try to keep the peace? Firefighters are gone for two or three days at a time, but then they are home for two or three days too. Firefighter wives, military wives, all have a special responsibility to the family. As much as he needs to accept that when he goes to work, life at home with three, sometimes five kids does not end, you need to understand too that he at work.

Tread lightly but do not stop talking to him and telling him what you need. Find some time for yourself when he is home so that when he is gone for days at a time you do not go insane. maybe a mommy and me class for you and your three year old, or a pedicure for you and the older girl.

Don’t feel guilty for taking care of you! You have a nine year old who is perfectly capable of helping daddy take care of the others for an afternoon!! And if he wants to complain about it…Ask him how many games of pool, or darts he got in with the guys over the past few days and ask him why you don’t deserve a little play time too.

You need a good girlfriend! Try to talk to and vent most of your frustration out on a friend. Save the BIG stuff for him and don’t forget to tell him about the good days too <GRIN>! Keep up the good work!!

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Get the following books by Dr. Laura:

The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands

The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage

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Hey S., You have received a ton of wise advice. I can only echo what has been said. Listen to your gut, it's usually right. I am a PCF firefighter, and while our general policy is no personal,long distance calls during hours from the office phone, unless an emergency, personal calls made with cell phones, usually short and sweet, or phone cards are fine, after hours from the office phone within reason. Our chief is very encouraging about keeping the home fires burning, staying in touch with kids and wives, etc. And fyi, there is a ton of down time, and the guys all make calls at various times during the day, especially if a child has a special event they've missed. Not one of our guys would think of any teasing etc. not even the younger single guys that are still into the juvenille macho stuff, that the more mature guys are past. I would also encourage you to get Dr. Laura's book, set up your own financial accts. and seek marriage counceling. I have also seen many marriages fail through the years with the beginings starting like you stated. Fire fighters job is very high stress, especially depending on the location of the station and the numbers of runs per shift. Fire fighters hae a very high divorce rate, as do most emergency service workers jobs. You really need to be thinking of how to best take care of yourself and your girls. If your dh chooses to continue the journey with you great. If He chooses not to then at least your better prepared. Being a christian, I do not encourage you to head for divorce yet while keeping that one eye open see the reality of what your circumstances are and without changes where it's heading.hugs

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Hi S.,
First off, I think it is unreasonable that your husband does not want you to call him at work, that is if you are not calling him 3 plus times a day to complain about the kids. Would he agree to 1 or 2 times a day that he can call you at specific times? Also, if you are babysitting "his kids" from a previous marriage when he is at work, I am wondering why he does not arrange for them to visit while he is at home. I don't think it is particularly unfair to you to babysit while he is away. After all, the purpose of those children coming into your home is to spend some time wit their Dad, right?
I also have concerns with your comment about how he treated his ex. In my own personal experience, it is a big red flag when a man bad mouths or treats an ex bad. It will only be a matter of time before he does that to his current partner. I have experienced this with my ex, in how he treated and talked about his ex at the time we got together. Then after a number of years, he treated me that way and he intitated a divorce which became very ugly and soon he was saying the same things about me as he said about the ex he had when we got together. Now he is geting divorced for a third time and is saying the same things about the woman who he is currently divorcing.
If you decide you want to divorce him you should keep quiet about it and plan for it. He sounds like the kind of man that would create big problems in a divorce situation. I encourage you to open a savings account for yourself (whether you want to stay married to him and his job with good benefits or not) and do not tell hime about it. You need to save enough money so that if you decide to leave him you will have the means to escape with your kids and obtain legal counsel without being intimidated by him. In other words, stash a minimum of $6000-8000. You can do this. Just start cutting little expenses and start stashing. Don't ever tell him about it, no matter what. If you stay with him, and he turns out to be a nice life partner, when the kids are grown and he retires you can tell him you were saving for a surprise, or else you can still have your stash an do whatever you choose to do with it. Just make sure that you claim your own personal power and don't let him or anyone else push you into doing anything you don't want to do. If he does not meet your needs and you have tried every avenue that you can think of to build the relationship to a healthy, mutual level, then make plans to get rid of him!

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HI, S.;
I know it may hurt...to be asked not to call! You have two challenges I see: first, he's a guy. Truthfully, they have a hard time doing more than one thing at a time. When he is at work, his brain is focused on Work. When you call and have a home concern, there is a total train wreck in his brain and it can totally mess him up...he doesn't know how he can help From There at Work. Being a Guy, he thinks he has to Fix It Now. It does not naturally occur to him that he could say "Honey, I am so sorry you are tired and burnt out. When I come home, I will brainstorm with you about who you can call for (whatever:play dates, child care trade off, etc.) For now, just know that I love you and appreciate you. Ooops, gotta go put that fire out and risk my life AGAIN today! Talk to you when I get home." You know your second challenge is that his line of work takes him away for so long. I strongly suggest these ideas: Swallow your pride and hurt, and do what he requests. Don't call at work unless there is an emergency. After awhile he may even miss you. But your calling may put added stress, embarassment and confusion on his already heavy load. Next, find another mom friend you can gain support from and give support to. Even for us moms who have husbands that come home every night, we cannot just launch into a tirade about the day when he comes home. No. The dinner is usually ready, and when he walks in the door my attitude is "HI, I am glad you are home." and I let him tell me about his day. Second, see if you can e-mail him there ONLY to tell him fun, cute, amusing things that happened to you or the kids during the day. Phase two (that is 4 weeks later) you might consider calling him the night or morning before he is due to come home and tell him he is a Major Stud. End of conversation. He will be confused the first 19 times you do this, first wondering who you are and then wondering what the catch is. Act like his confusion doesn't bother you. He can't help it. Only do this once a week or so. Phase 3 is to call and if he doesn't answer the phone, leave a message with whoever does: "Yes, this is S.. I have a very important message for my husband. Please make sure he gets this. Tell him he is a Major Stud. Yes, thank you." Don't over-do this. Just maybe once a week at the most. By the way, don't worry how he used to treat anybody else a long time ago. You and he are different together because you are different than "her." We women want emotional support, genuine understanding and appreciation. But we cannot control or demand certain behaviors or feelings from anyone, even our husbands. So we work on ourselves and can be proud of the good job we are doing regardless. Then, low and behold, when we have become happy, interesting, independent people who enjoy life, they want to be with us, want to know us more. Show your appreciation for him. Think about (anything) he does for you or others and tell him thank you. I know whereof I speak. My husband of 22 years has worked for a children's summer camp year round for 19 years, and is gone for ALL SUMMER. I can drive up to camp if I want, or leave slightly racy phone messages to make him laugh. But I live leaning on God, waiting for my husband to come home no matter what the season. I have started my own art business, and am involved with church and community things. Don't give up. It is so worth it to build a history together. It is work. That is not a bad thing. Well, have a good day. J.

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Firefighter have the most relaxed schedule!!!! There at the firehouse cleaning their trucks and shopping for dinner everyday and catching up on their favorite TV shows...they get excited if they actually get a fire call. Unless you live in an forest that's constantly on fire, your husband has more downtime than you think. He's being totally selfish not to call you.

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Girl, this can be handled on so many different levels. First of all, why? Why get involved with a man that has already one failed marriage? That aside, do you get together with the wives? That's your support base. It's obvious that your husband does not want to be involved in your lives while he's at work. He has two separate lives and face it, so do you. It takes planning but you need to take hold and make your own life without him when he's at work. Make play dates, lunch dates, ladies night out, go to an exercise gym that has childcare. Get a calendar and fill it up for the times that you are alone with the children. The dependency will fade away and the husband, in time will notice that you no longer need him and he may change his tune as well. Get involved in a support group. I'm sure there are groups set up for firefighter spouses. You are a single mom over 50% of the time. Your girls are probably feeling the same way and need the stability of a schedule with and without dad and so do the stepchildren.
Good luck. Keep in touch.

Dr B.

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my suggestion is that you are indeed a single mom....
Go to the firehouse and ask to see the work schedule...
when is he really there.....
His new cell phone bill is going to a different address...
And your visa bill....?
This comes from a 63 year old mom of three, devorced after
32 years of being blind to my reality....
Find support with girlfriends....
Be suspicious....
Love, Sorry

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Hi S., I hope all is well for you and your children. I'm sorry that you are going thru this. My husband of 18 years started to treat me in that manner. He would blame me for everything. It was real bad, I found out that he was seeing someone from his job. I'm a stay at home mom with 3 kids and I know it's easier said then done that I could of left him but I didn't. He still works with the other person and I have no trust for him. I hate that I feel this way. It is so selfish of me to say that I'm with him because of the kids, house, bills, cars. The big picture. I just hope that you are strong enough to get thru this with or without him. Good Luck

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I'm a former military wife and I'm still active with other military wives as well. As an office manager, our handbook states no personal phone calls are to be made or received during working hours. An employee is given breaks and a lunch break for such calls. If there was an emergency, of course, the policy is waived.
With saying that, I do not think it's unrealistic not to talk to your husband for 2 days. He does not have an 8 -5 job, he's a firefighter with responsibly. I went days or weeks without talking to my ex-husband when he was in the field training or overseas for months to a year. You knew going into the relationship what his life was like and now you’re upset when he asks you not to call the firehouse. Call the wives and ask if they call the firehouse all day long with problems at home with the kids? There is nothing your husband can do while at work so why call to complain? You are putting more stress on him and you wonder why he asks you not to call? I'd tell you not to call too! If I can have 2-3 days of peace why not.
Is the stress of having 3-5 kids too much? Why are the kids not getting along? Is it because they feel the tension in the house with you and your husband that they are acting out? Family counseling maybe worth looking into to find out why the kids are stressed and also allow them to hear how you feel and possibility get them to help out more. Then, you wouldn't feel the need to call your husband and when he comes home - he would want to come home to a calm happy house.
It's easy for everyone to give advice, but coming from a former military wife used to living alone and a single mom I feel I married into it so I knew what I was getting myself into. I had an awesome support group with other military wives too. Some days were good and others I wanted to throw in the towel - but you need to find your independence and not lose yourself in the kids and marriage!
Good luck!!

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I agree 100% with Jodi. S., my husband did the same too a few years ago and I stopped calling him completely...what happend? He started to call ME every day, sometimes two or three times just to see what I was doing =) I did keep most of my complaints for when he is home, I kept the happy conversations for our phone calls. I do agree though...you sometimes do get worried and just miss him. Let him know that.

I also have one on one times with my daughter...she is only 9, but at least I get out and have fun. I would love to keep in touch with you. ____@____.com =)

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While it does sound like you know that your calls to him were not all that well handled, the situation sounds extrememely disfunctional. Start with what you can easily control, which is you. Instead of complaining at all, figure out what exactly what you need him to do when he's home. Since you're living the life of a single mom, I would start with carving out a set of times where he is 100% responsible for the kids, and then get out of the house to enforce it. It's better to try it this way than to get the actual divorce when he's got them for longer stretches of time. Also, his kids really shouldn't be spending long stretches of time while he's not around. For consistency's sake, afternoon and dinner at your house while he's away is not unreasonable, but anything more than that is ridiculous. At the end of the day, his kids from a previous marriage are the responsibility of him and his previous wife. Figure out what it would look like if you weren't around, and then implement that (and, if you want, an extra dinner with them per week doesn't seem unreasonable, but it should be up to you.)
Having said that, it sounds like he's being a jerk, and it's time for both of you to decide whether you're going to make the marriage work. I agree with everyone else who feel that he's likely cheating, or beginning to think about it. So, prepare for the worst (start getting support from girlfriends, stash money, think about getting a part-time job, start to get a little distance from his kids from a previous marriage,...) and then fight for a better outcome (stop complaining and/or nagging, start being very clear about what he specifically needs to do, and get counseling, and reduce the amount of time his kids spend with you when he's not around.) And please remember, no matter what happens, you're going to be fine. Divorce is hard, but once you're free from a guy who's playing a lot of destructive games, you have a lot more energy for your own kids and yourself. And, if you don't have close girlfriends already, take up the offers of support from this request. You can do it!

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This is NOT acceptable. While your husband may have a job that requires being away from the house for long hours (even days), his first and most important job is to be father to his children and husband to his wife.

My husband is police officer and sometimes works double or triple shifts, and sleeps at the department (in their quiet room) when he is away from home two days at a time. Still, he makes himself available to me by cell phone when he can. He even checks in with me to see how things are going at home with our daughter and to tell me about his day and hear about mine.

Even if your husband can only be there for you and the kids some of the time via the phone, it's still important that he is available to you and the kids on a daily basis. I hope your situation is not going to end up like it did with your husband and his ex-wife, but you know him better than anyone. Good luck to you and I hope you get the respect and time from your husband (even over the phone) that you deserve.

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I see that you have many responses but I thought I'd just say hi and let you know that you are not alone. My husband, too, needs lots of space and does not want to be accountable as a member of the family. It is probably his own issues, try not to personalize it. I give him all the space he needs and am very loving when he is around. I had to do this for about a year and just last week he finally came back from a business trip and said that he missed me and our family. Don't pressure him, you'll only drive him away. Be patient, you'll know when you've been patient long enough, and then its time to move on.

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I read your request with a bit of a heavy heart. It
sounds like you and your husband need to have a transparent talk. To simply offer you advice about the phone issue would be like putting a band-aid on a gash. To home in though, it is always best, to begin with your own attitudes and behaviors to see where you might possibly be pushing him away... i.e., complaining each time you do talk with him.. Certainly, that is not what attracted him to you in the beginning, right? I can reccommend an excellent book, which has been very useful for many marriages, including my own. It is called "Created to Be His Helpmeet" by Debbi Pearl. It can be ordered from the "No Greater Joy.org" website. They have many other neat/useful info. for families as well. I truly hope this is of value to you!

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After you try giving him space, see if calling just to call helps. My husband and I call each other at least 3 times a day. Sometimes more. Sometimes it's for a specific reason, but most of the time it just a short, Hi how are you kind of call. It keeps us close. It means we care. That's all. Good luck. I hope everyone is wrong and there isn't anything else going on, but if there is I pray you will have the strength to work through it.

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I have 2 grandsons that are firefighters and married with children. They cannot wait to hear from their wifes and children. This husband needs an attitude adjustment. I do not think it should be an every 1/2 hr. phone call but once a day or evening would be fine. HE SHOULD NOT OBJECT TO THIS AT ALL.
I would like to know what his reason is?

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I don't know your whole story, so it's hard to comment, but I can say this:

My daughter has two girls and is married to a Fire Captain in El Dorado Hills Fire Dept. They talk to each other every day at least once, and he has a cell phone that he keeps with him and turned on. He checks in to see how the girls are doing every day. But, my daughter goes out of her way to make her husband feel like he is supported. Her calls to him are generally very brief -- mostly just to say "I love you and miss you, and want to make sure you are safe." If she has to talk to him about some business matter, or somethinmg that's gone on that he needs to know about, she'll first acknowledge that he's busy; she briefly outlines the issue, and asks him when he might have a few minutes to talk. Then she asks him to call her when he can. I've been present on many ocassions to hear her end of the conversation.

On the other hand, and in defense of your husband, sometimes guys become embarrassed when their wives call them a lot, especially when they work with other guys because they get "teased" about it and feel, well, less "manly." I'm not saying that you have been calling your husband excessively when he's at the station, but in "his mind" you may be, or most likely his fire fighter buddies have given him a hard time about it. Maybe his buddies are married to women or have girlfriends who rarely call the station, and only when they are dealing with a situation that they absolutely cannot handle on their own and must talk to their sweeties. When I was in my first marriage, and was a stay-at-home mom, I used to call my husband at work a couple of times each day mostly because I was lonely, but sometimes because I felt like I just didn't want to make certain decisions without his input -- he was a Porsche mechanic, so he worked with other married guys. They started kidding him about my calling, and eventually, he refused to pick up the line and instructed the other guys just to tell me that he was "unaivailable." I was hurt by that just like you are, and I also felt it was so unfair that he didn't want to talk to me during the day. In restrospect, I have a better understanding of why he did what he did. My marriage didn't work out with him, but it wasn't because of that, by the way.

Compromise: why not ask your husband to please turn back on his cell phone because since you have children at home you may need to reach him if there is an emergency? Promise him that you will NOT call him unless it is very important, but that it makes you feel safe to know that you can reach him. And, (this is important) keep that promise. You can then ask him to please call you when he has a few minutes just once daily to make sure that everything is okay, and because you miss him and just want to hear his voice. When he does call, keep the conversation upbeat if you can. You had mentioned that you call and complain to him sometimes??? The guy is working under a lot of pressure if he's a fire fighter, and deals with life and death situations almost daily. Maybe he needs to feel that you are a "ray of sunshine" to help him through his stress, rather than someone who calls to complain to him and add to his stress.

If you are worried about other things in your marriage, (such as how he treated his ex-wife) perhaps you need to talk to a family therapist or a clergyman about your concerns. The phone call issue is really fairly simply dealt with; the other stuff may require something more.

My very best to you both, P.

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Ok I will be honest-when I read your request my first thought was, "poor thing, he's cheating." But I do not know him (or you)-so that is not fair.
What I will say, that no one in the messages I read through said, is that it drives me crazy when my husband calls too much or at a bad time. I work part-time, and when he calls at work it takes my brain away from what I am doing. When he calls me at home-he assumes that if it is a good time for him to talk, then it should be for me too-which with 3 kids is not usually the case. And I love him dearly, and am absolutely faithful-it is just my personality. He needs to check in to feel connected to me, I rarely complain about it because I love him, but my needs are different.
That being said, you have an absolute right to check in with your husband to know he is ok, and vice versa. You guys need to share control over this issue, and agree to the conditions of your phone calls. If I were negotiating it-you would agree to # of calls per day (maybe just one), approximate time of day, and who calls who. He can either expect your call, or buy a calling card to call you. Unless someone is on fire or bleeding profusely-don't use it as the time to vent-just reconnect, say I love you, and each of you go back to your work.
I agree with the another writer who said that if he is not willing to compromise on this at all...there may be bigger issues.
Good luck.

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Sorry to hear about your husband not wanting you to call the station. My husband is a fire fighter and normally works 24s but sometimes works 48s and 72s.

I do call the station and the guys are great when I call. I wish I could say something to ease your worries but all I can say is you can contact me if you need to talk because I know what it is like being a married single mom or a fire fighters wife.

My opinion is that you should be able to call the station. What I love about the fire department is that everyone is a huge family, the guys have to be when they live together for days at a time.

Contact me if you need to chat.

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Sounds like he has another or is just a VERY BAD HUBBY!! Sorry, but I have to be honest.

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Good News. There is hope. My advice on how to connect with your husband is to respect his space, and learn to enjoy your space (without him) more. This will result in one of two things. He will be relieved that you trust him and maybe in turn, he will be more attentive to you and the children, or you will realize that you need more attention from the marriage and take the steps you feel are necessary to lead a happy life. Being happy is the most important memory we can give our children.
I read your message and so many memories rush back into my head. The good thing is, the feelings are no longer in my heart. I can look back and smile because I’ve moved on and life at 40 is so good.
I have learned to take everyone else out of the picture, and figure out what makes me happy. With me, it was to get my self-esteem and my self-worth back. It’s such a simple and obvious process. Just as misery enjoys company, so does happiness. Once I decided to take care of myself, everything just fell into place. My husband and I did end up in divorce but even after 7 years, we are the best of friends and our children are glad for that. For us, it was the best and only solution.
You might think that your uneasy feelings are due to a million details about your husband, but it just might be that your idea of marriage is different than his. It doesn’t mean one is right or one is better, but it matters if the ideas are different. Sometimes personalities are just too different. Whatever you do, don’t lose yourself. Everyday, improve your mind, your body, and your spirit. With that, you can’t lose. He might just realize what a great catch you are! Good Luck.

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1. Get some girl friends & other moms to be your support group. Vent to them when you need to, rather than to your husband at work.

2. Get this book (from library, friend, or bookstore) The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. By Dr. Laura Schlesinger.

3. Treat him well. Behave like his girlfriend (girlfriends are more fun than work, they giggle more than complain, etc.) Then add the "dad" responsibilities in there as needed. But dont forget to be his helpmeet and soulmate first. He is more than just a personal sounding board for when you're tired/frustrate/overwhelmed/etc. (remember that he probably very well is too.)

4. I'd definitely find out why (without bugging and pestering) he doesnt like it when you call. Are you complaining too much? Is it too overwhelming for him to hear about stuff at home when his mind is on work? Are the other guys razzing him? Be as supportive and understanding as you can, and that will lead to him being more supportive and responsive.

Said it already, but need to stress this again - read The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, and practice it till you get it. And COMMUNICATE WELL. Communicating well does not mean calling him often and telling him everything. It means focusing on the other's feelings and expressing yours in a fair manner (and fair does not mean the same to both parties either).

Best of luck.

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Clearly he has something to hide. Trust your intuition, do not be fooled.

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You are NOT being paranoid. Your instincts are good. If he started seeing you while still married to her, then he will do this again. This is not normal behavior no matter what his job is. He's making a fool of you, and unfortunately Your girls will always do as you do. This means that whatever horid things you endure, they will also endure rather than stand up and fight. So, think about what you want for your girls. This aint it. Dont allow him to treat you like this.

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I think how people treat their ex's says a lot about them. But, you are different from his ex I'm sure. My oldest daughter's father is a fireman. It was hard for me. (My oldest daughter is now 15). His father retired from CDF. I remember his mother, they have been married 40+ yrs, told me you have to have your own life (I guess that's how she has made it work so many years). I would find someone else to call for support. I bet he feels overwhelmed, he can't be there to help you. Maybe try to give him lots a lovin when he gets hm. Tell him how much you appreciate what he does for you & your kiddos. Women do have all the power to turn this kinda stuff around. Do you ever listen to talk radio? I have started listening to it in the afternoon. It keeps me grounded/focused. I listen to Dr. Laura, a.m. 650, I've gotten so many ideas about how to keep myself & my marriage strong. Try to give him alotta support when he gets home & hopefully he will hook his cell phone back up soon. I know their are something they don't tell us because they're so bad. I how this helps ya.
(This just stuck out to me because of the fireman)

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It sounds like he's only worried about himself... You're already acting as a single parent.... What is the point of staying in the relationship? Is it the financial part of it? If so, that's no reason to stick around.... He'll have to pay child support and for three kids, it will be enough to get you guys on your feet. Get out of the situation QUICK! You're girls are going to end up marring bastards like him if you stay with him. Kids follow in their parents footsteps no matter how much we don't want them to... Good Luck S.....

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I know it is hard from long term experience. My husband of 21 years left me 10 years ago with my family of 4 sons. But while we were still married he worked the Alaska pipeline. He worked 7 days a week 14 hours a day and came home after 9 weeks for two weeks. It was SO hard. I was living in Alaska at the time in the wilderness and it was grueling. One thing I found that helped was working with my hands in the down times..( weren't many.....) it really helped. I am an avid knitter now and even though it was so hard I somehow made it and my kids came out fine. Absolutely wonderful, actually. Sometimes the man in our lives cannot really "get" what we are facing. But you may want to find a support group like a hobbie group or something that lets you take off time to just laugh and share.
My ex incidently had cheated on me as I found out years later. I don't think canceling his cell phone is such a cool thing so you may want to investigate that with him.....Best wishes and don't be scared. You already are a super woman.

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Maybe you should tell him his attitude is not consistent with correct "emergency response" protocol! Maybe he would understand your situation if it were put in language that coincides with the mindset of his work. If you are only calling like you say and are not constantly on the phone or dropping in on him unexpectedly with "lunch" or cruising the firehouse to check up on him, then he has no legitimate reason to limit your calls. He is a husband FIRST and a firefighter second, except when he is battling a fire.

You have your hands full!! If only one parent were needed to raise a child, we wouldn't need two to create them. And on top of it you have his kids from a previous FAILED relationship!! I know you probably don't want to make this distinction to the kids, making them feel less than "yours", but HE is not a baby and HE should be very grateful that you are shouldering his burden with him.

"Home" is where he returns to after his long shifts. I'm sure he would not feel it was entirely your reaponsibility if you sold it out from under him or changed the locks!

If you are insinuating that he began to date you before his previous relationship was finished, I'd say leopards don't change their spots. "Cutie" fireman are the rockstars of the post 911 world (actually, they've always been pretty attractive.) My gut instinct is that he is irresponsible and a "player". Sorry - it's just my gut. At the very least, he wants his uninterrupted "guy time". Sorry, Charlie.

But before you jump to the conclusions you've probably already jumped to, try telling him he needs a cell phone - no excuses - and that you expect to connect with him every 8 hours or 10 hours or something reasonable. Not just for "support" for you, but to keep him involved in his children's lives, to make decisions with you, to reward them, instruct them, etc. etc.

My dad travelled extensively when I was a kid and he called home every night. My mom made us "ask Daddy" about a lot of things (permissions, expenditures - stuff like that) a lot. He was part of the process even when he was 1,000 miles a way.

Good luck. For your sake, I hope he is a good guy who just needs to grow up. If he isn't, make sure you stay married long enough to qualify for his retirement and find a good lawyer.

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That is crazy not be able to call him. Tell him it's time to get a new cellphone if he can't handle getting calls at the station. It's pretty simple. And make sure your calls are not incredibly long-winded, and that there are positives that you are sharing as well as the stresses. Then he wont feel like everytime you call, he is going to hear a complaint. I know it's hard being at home with kids, but you have to bring something positive to his ears as well.

And I wonder the same thing; How is he when he's home? That should tell a lot. Good luck!

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When I call my husband during work hours my first question is either "Can you talk?" or "Do you need to call me back?" I used to jump right into what was happening in my day when he said hello - not thinking about the fact that there might be other people in the room on his end or whatever. This has been good because if there is a problem then I can tell him right away, and if I'm just wanting to connect with him because I'm tired and need a short dose of adult interaction then we can chat for a few minutes. Maybe if he knew that you were wanting just to talk because you missed him he could give you some guidance on the best time to call. Good luck!

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My husband is also a firefighter and can't make long distance calls from work but he has a calling card and manages to call every night. Don't let him get away with that...he needs to talk to his kids and give you support. I've never responded to any of these questions before but you need to know that you are not alone and your husband needs to support you or else you will go crazy. Good luck!

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Wow. I do NOT think you are being paranoid (where there's smoke, there's fire, right?). I surely hope you listen closely to your intuition and gather your strength to prepare to deal on your own, whether it be just day-to-day issues with your girls, or the future of your family - and possible single-motherhood. Keep your eBay sales going but start saving ALL that you can. Build a support system with other moms - do you have any family in the area? Are you on good terms with his ex (can she take YOUR girls some so you can work)? Do you have joint financial accounts (to pay for all household expenses), and your OWN account (one he doesn't have any access to where you can start to stash cash)? I of course don't know your entire situation so I suppose I could be misreading something here. I don't want to be the voice of gloom and doom, just the voice of reason, but I think it is pretty telling that his co-workers are rude and short with you (which means they're covering up for him and/or he has been talking negatively about you). In the event that this is not the case (that he is not seeing someone else or making plans to leave) you will have made some very positive independent changes for yourself. Unfortunately, all too often we ignore or diminish "the signs" until it is too late and we are not prepared to fend for ourselves. This happened to my mom when I was going off to college and it has happened to me in serious dating situations. I can now recognize the red flags like lack of respect, secrecy, distancing himself (or in your case cutting you off completely from contact - you can't tell me he doesn't have another cell phone that you don't know about), etc. Please know that if this IS what it has come to, that you DO have the strength within you to cope, and you have a network of other moms to help you!

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Hi S. - What I hear is that husband wants you to deal more with the home issues and you want more of his help in that area. Be sure to remember that men aren't much in the multi tasking dept. He's there earning a living for 3 children and a wife (and, possibly, helping support 2 other children) and that is his focus. When you get overwhelmed, try seeking assistance from family, friends, etc. Since the other 2 children are over 9, they might even be a help to you when they are there. I'm sure the life of a firefighter's wife can be lonely; maybe get into an online book club, take walks with the kids, maybe grandma or friends can watch the kids and let you do stuff you enjoy now and then. Try to make the best of your now situation 'cuz it will all change in a few years as they grow older. Relax, S. - see the glass half full. Best wishes, C. S., grandmother of 5

You need to get in a moms group. So you can share your day with other ladies that are going through the same things. Are you going to church? If you do you can get lots of suport with them.You could read a book called Bounderys for children. This will help you (so I've been told. I'm getting the book this week.)

I know you don't want to hear this and it's a wifes worst fear but, he may be cheating on you. I have other friends in the same profession he is in and they've cheated. Please check in to it...I hope I'm wrong!

Since you did not state how often you are calling, it's hard to say if this has been inconvenient for him.
However, hearsay of firefighters and station house behavior is they keep a macho atmosphere at work (and this transfers to personal views.) Calling him at the station probably earns him less- than-manly status and he percieves this as hurting his career and friendships.
Since he thinks you should just deal with the kids and leave him out of it, then you will do better by forming other friendships to help support and nurture your family!
Best of luck to you!

Maybe you should compromise with him and ask for him to call at least one of the days he is on his shifts. Also, maybe you are not aware that you might be calling too much for what might be insignificant things. How many times do you call him a day? Ask him to call home because you miss him and that it's the right thing to do to make sure all is well at home. Don't start complaining about every little thing you are having an issue with the kids. Ask yourself...is this really something important that I should talk to him about? If the answer is "no" then don't mention it. Looks to me like you might call for a lot of little insignificant things that he feels you should be able to handle. Talk to him and let him know you will discuss with him only issues that you really need help with, otherwise, you will try extremely hard to handle the other situations on your own, and in return, for him to be more considerate of you and to call home once a day sometime when he is free.

Just wondering if you have tried having a heart to heart with your husband to let him know how you feel? For example, taking some time when he is home and letting him know that sometimes you're overwhelmed and that you'd like to hear from him. I can also understand that he probably doesn't want to hear complaints from home if he's working long shifts. One thought is if you're having issues that you'd like his input on then wait until he gets home and the two of you can discuss it then. Has his attitude always been like this or is this a recent occurrence? Perhaps another avenue would be to get with other moms that will be more understanding and supportive. Just my two cents. HTH

first question, was he sstill married when you started seeing him? If so, you know he does not feel strongly about the commitment of his vows. That being said perhaps seeing a professional could benefit the whole family.
Another suggestion would be take advantage of his schedule and go see a family member, or girlfriend for a few day's. That would serve two purposes, 1st; you get a break from the children, 2nd; your husband may find a new understanding of how hard it is. Girls can love each other, but they fight and scream and hit, pull hair, take each others things, ect. The only thing is, then they run screaming to mom, to solve the fight, or hide behind, either way it is frustrating.
You also may want to find agroup of moms to do things with, perhaps someone who wouldn't mind you calling and unloading on.
The first thing I would encourage you to do is find a professional, and deal with the abandonment issues you speak about in your request.
Good luck S., marriages are very difficult, but when you add three to five kids "ouch".
I wish you all the Best.

This is not an equitable relationship. I immediately was reminded of how my husband calls home everyday around 2 pm to see how my day with the kids is going. He almost always is the one to initiate the call--and he's a busy guy! He calls even if it is to say 'hey, i'm going into a meeting and won't be able to call." There's a good chance that he's cheating on you. If he did it once, he'll do it again. I've never met a cheater that didn't continue the pattern at one point or another.

Wow. That sounds so harsh. Not only does he avoid checking in on how his own kids are doing, but he doesn't show any understanding of how it feels to be at home alone caring for 3 to 5 kids. Yet you understand the stressors of his job.

He's not even reachable, if seems, if there were an emergency.

Maybe he's embarassed in front of the guys, but he should get his priorities straight.

Marriage counseling is an idea if you do not agree with his self-imposed rules. Otherwise finding a therapist to talk to will help too. Also finding families who live in your area to do some share care will give you a little free time to do what you want to do. Good luck.

It's hard to convey details in such short descritptions so I won't presume that what you conveyed is encompassing of your marriage but I will ask: did you answer your own question already in your last sentence? Anytime I have ever seen a friend, co-worker or other female for that matter question if her husband/ boyfriend was being faithful the answer was usually no. If you suspect then you should have the converation and share your concerns.

Otherwise, give him a taste of his own medicine. Find another outlet to converse with for a while, a family member or friend. If he doesn't want to talk to you then turn the tables and show him what its like to be shut out for a while. If he shows no interest and seems to enjoy the distance in your relationship then you know you have a larger problem than calling his work.

I say this with the assumption that you are not "that wife" at the fire house - the one that constantly calls and is always dropping by, checking in - poking around so to speak - if you are that wife well then your husband has just gotten tired of all the harrassment he gets from the other men he works with teasing him endlessly about the ball and chain.

I would also strongly recommend getting some time to yourself...can you have someone watch the kids even just once a month? It may help alleviate some of what you are feeling.
Hope this helps. N.

I didn't read all of these, but I totally agree with Claire. Can I just also say that I had the best marriage in the world, and when they closed McClellan AFB and my husband moved to southern California, even though he was SO WONDERFUL about coming up here every other weekend and holidays, trips together, etc., the distance took SO MUCH AWAY from our marriage. We lasted 5 years like that (many marriages wouldn't have lasted 6 months), but it did take its toll and when I went to counseling, the therapist told me that "A marriage needs DAY-TO-DAY nurturing, every day contact, and both parties have to make that happen". If your husband is away that much at work, it is IMPERATIVE that he contacts you REGULARLY -- there is so much you're not getting out of your marriage with him being away, the phone calls may be the only thing that can hold you together. Tell him to get over himself, that your job raising the girls is JUST as important as his work at the station and that it is ALSO HIS JOB TOO. He can't pick one and not the other, they are BOTH his responsibility, AS IS HIS MARRIAGE.

Hope this helps.

Hi. I don't mean to be a downer, but when they are married and cheat with you, they will usually cheat with someone else when married to you.

I would imagine he has a very stressful job; however, I feel that his family is also his responsibility and by shirking his responsibility, something is not right. hat is he like at home when he is not working? I would wonder if maybe he has another cell phone and the bill goes to his work... it's just not normal for someone not to have a cell phone these days. Like I say, I hate to be a downer, but it sure sounds like he has something going on the side. I think I would confront him or maybe start doing a little investigating on my own to find out why this change in behavior.

I wish you the best.

Sounds fishy to me.

I would try to tell him your concerns and let him know that you need his support. I couldn't imagine not being able to talk to my husband for two days, I'd go crazy!!! Maybe you could call some of the other firefighters wives and see if their husbands are saying the same thing. If all the man are telling their wives not to call it could be that they are being pressured by their bosses to not spend time at work on personal matters. Best of luck to you.

Work can keep anyone busy. Does he stay alot at the firehouse? I used to work alot, and my ex would call me all the time. He needs a break from work to spend quality time with you at home. I know its hard not to call him, but those guys have no right to be rude to you either. Family should take priority also. Maybe you two should sit down and talk when he comes home.

S., I hate to say this but your intuition may be telling you something. Confront him with it, your gut is giving you a red flag for a reason. Be strong for your children, you.... and the girls deserve better.

A little about me;
I work full time, and have 2 beautiful children. A 4 year old boy named Jadon, and a 2 year old girl named Jillian. I've been with my husband for 17 years, married for 6.

No, you are not being paranoid. Go with your gut instinct. And ask him to go with you to marriage counseling. There is obviously something more at stake here than you just "bugging" him at work. Also try www.aweekendtoremember.com - if you can get him away for a whole weekend, this could really help you! In the meantime, find some girlfriends you can lean on. It's exhausting to be a stay-at-home mom without any support from your man, especially with that many children. My heart goes out to you. But right now, you have to decide what is best for your whole family, and I think the foundation of that is fixing whatever is wrong with the relationship between the two of you. You'll both need to go back in your minds to the time that you fell in love and remind yourselves why you're together in the first place. You need to turn this around, and try to make every single encounter with your husband a positive one.

I don't think you'll get any kind of support from your husband if you call to complain about stuff. What can he do anyway? He might tell you what to do and that might not come across acceptable at all either. It wouldn't with me, I will get angrier. Anyway, correct me if I'm wrong but, don't firefighters work just 18 days a month on a non-emergency situation? Where is he the rest of the days? Are those the days when his other two kids come and spend time with you guys? Those will be the only days they would come and stay, right? I read a book a long time ago about relationships, and the author said that a relationship is like a rubber-band, we stretch it but then we have to let go, otherwise it will snap! Don't call him, don't tell him anything negative about whatever happened during his absence, he'll come around. It takes time, and you need to be patient, very patient, but he'll come around. He'll start asking questions and questioning your attitude, your change of attitude. Nobody likes to be ignored. Find another person who will listen, just for the sake of listening, because that's probably just what you need, someone who will listen. Women do that, otherwise we wouldn't be anwering or giving you some kind of advice. Girlfriends are good at that! Try it and see if it works for you. E.

So isn't it his home too, therefore, home issues are his to deal with also!!!! I'd have a heart to heart and tell him it is part of his responsibility as a husband to support you. If he can't be supportive to his spouse, what't the point of being together? Find out what the real problem is. It sounds like there is more to the issue than phone calls at work. Do you have friends to talk with? Do you have family to talk with? Maybe you need another outlet.

I don't understand why he cancelled his cell phone? If there was an emergency, other than at the station, how are you supposed to reach him? He's the father of 5 children and he doesn't want to be bothered? Have you sat him down when he comes home from work and talked to him about your concerns? I can't imagine what you're going through, the nature of his work or the situation you guys have, but it seems unfair to you that you're also having to care for his 2 other children and no way of communicating with him when you're felling extra challenged? I wish I had something helpful to say to you other than have a good heart to heart talk w/ him. Or give him a dose of his own medicine! When he's home, have him take care of the kids so that he'll know exactly what you're feeling when he's not around. Good Lunck!

Hi S.,
It made me sad to read your message. I feel like your husband isn't being supportive of you. I would suggest that you try to have a heart to heart with him about this. First, try to note in your mind the things you'd like to talk to him about when/if you were to call; I would imagine you also just want to call and say "hi" and have a little interaction sometimes. My friend is a fire captain. I KNOW how much down time they have...I don't think your husband is being fair. I would consider a cell phone as an essential part of keeping your marriage in tact. Perhaps establish a time to all in the evening, when they're all relaxing. I wish you luck with your talk. Just remember to try and come from a place of love and and understanding; hear his part, and hope that he's willing to hear yours.

All the best, A.

Sounds like he needs a reality check. I'd get him another cell phone and say you can either answer when I call you on this, or I call the work line.
I mean, that's way too long to stay out of contact. He wouldn't know if anything was happening really bad or what not. He'd be missing everything. Plus it sounds like he is dumping everything on you and wants nothing to do with his family to me.
I call my hubby all the time at work and he's a teacher. We both have cell phones and text message as well. He has never asked me to not call him at work or text him.

I don't think his request is being fair to you. I know that his job requires his attention the full 48+ hours, but I also feel that there are plenty opportunities that firefighters get due to downtime, that a phone call to you or from you should not interfere with his work. I fully think that is the respectable thing for him to do. I dated a firefighter and even he called me from his work to say hi so I know a simple check up should be possible. I would talk to him and see if there is some other issue involved.... Goodluck!

How is he at home? Is he 100% when he is at home or still distant? He may have the out of date idea that men work and the little lady stays at home with the kids. And to ask him to do more is offending his manhood, specially in his very macho oriented profession. Maybe guys give him a hard time. He really needs to understand this is a team effort and his job isn't just a regular 9-5 job and to be out of touch for that long is too hard on you. You need support. Having three kids is hard enough, but then to add the other 2. I think I would put my foot down about the other 2, if he is not going to be home. You need a heart to heart with him telling you what is really going on, is he having an affair? is it just some cave man at work giving him a hard time. Do you know any of the other wives from the firehouse? Maybe they can give you some insight. Don't whine or complain when you talk to him,just be straight forward. Get your thought on paper if you have to so you don't turn into a crying mess. You need some answers. Be strong and Good Luck!

Sounds like it's who he is. I would have a hard time with it personnally. Life is a commitment when you have children and communication is key. Maybe you can make an agreement where you don't call him at work but he has to check in with you once durring his last day of work.? But I think more importantly for you, you need a network of girlfriends to call on. Women are far more empathetic and supportive. Hope it works out for you.

Have him trade places with you for 2 days and handle the kids by himself. He might understand a little better why you need to check in every so often.

Hi S.,
I don't want to be negative - but -
Does he ever call you? For example, you say he's at work up to 96 hours in a row. During that time, does he ever call you to say hi or how are you or how are the kids, or what's up? I would think that if he took a bit of the down time in those 48 to 96 hours, when he knows the time is there and it's okay, he should call you - maybe reverse the charges? If he doesn't, I'd have to say things look pretty bad.
Even if he has lost some of his excitement about your marriage and his relationship with you, he SHOULD be at least checking in about the kids. And, if this was how he treated his ex-wife at the end of their relationship, I would definitely be concerned.
I'd seek professional help. I'd tell him that you are afraid concerning your relationship and that his being totally unavailable for 2, 3 or 4 days in a row, continually, is not normal or healthy. There is no reason for his co-workers to be rude to you, and cancelling his cell phone seems to be evidence that he has no desire to be in touch with his family. He needs to be told that bringing home a paycheck is good, but is NOT being in relationship with his family members and you'd like to work with him on that. Tell him you're getting counseling and you want him to join you so he can share his side of any issues, and get help in solving any concerns he might have.
I learned too late that tough love is good love. You need to put your foot down, and if need be, tell him he has to go if things don't change. That doesn't mean you actually intend to divorce, but he needs to believe you're totally serious -things change for the better or it's over.
Get support from a group, a pastor or a counselor.
Good luck and God bless you and yours.

I'm sorry, but that is just NOT ok. They are his kids too. I was married to a cop, they can take calls at work. Yes you cant call every 2 min but you need to be able to reach him if needed. Dont put up with it. You two need to have a serious talk. Hang in there and good luck!

Hi there,
I have some what of a same issue with my husband, he is a truck driver and is sometimes gone for awhile. There have been times that we haven't talked for days as well, he would tell me that he was busy etc. I recently found out from him that he has turned his cell phone off for a couple of days 'cause I upset him.But we have set down just the two of us and talked about things of concern. I put my foot down and told him that if his is going to be out on the road and away from home for awhile then I needed to be able to call him. We still run into small things here and there (he is driving or the cell phone battery goes dead)if he doesn't answer he calls me back as soon as he can.I also have two kids (20 months and 5 months) and I needed someone to talk to and be there for me even if it was just over the phone. There are days that I want to tear my hair out, so I know where you're coming from. Next time he is home, try sitting down and telling him your concerns and try to compromise. Maybe suggest getting a cell phone again. Good Luck

Dear S.,
Sounds like your "cutie firefighter" husband has another agenda that doesn't include you.

Sounds like you aren't getting what you need and he is....something isn't right and he as well as the other firemen should consider what kind of firehouse they are running if this is how they treat their own family members.

If you can, confront him and consider what life would be like without him....sounds like it already is....

You deserve better.

Hi S.
How awful. My husband works out of town alot and he calls home everynight. He wants to know how the kids day went and mine too. Sometimes it's hard for him to hear about he bad days but what can you do. He has a cell phone and if he can talk he answers it if not I leave a message and he calls me back when he can. Most of the time I dont need to talk to him but I need to tell him something or give him a reminder of something I that I might forgot that night on the phone. He could easy do this. Just have the cell phone go to voice mail and check in that way its not a brother to the other guys. What do the other guys do who are married? Are they the same way too? I would definely telling how you feel.
I hope this helps. He should want to be connected to you and the girls.

THis is a tough one. Does he help you when he's not at work? My husband is a police officer and there are stretches where me and the kids don't see him for 2-3 days, sometimes more because he works overtime and weird shifts, etc.

Maybe he can meet you halfway and at least call you once a day to say hello and see how your day is going. Is there anyone else that you can go to for support?

It can be easy to feel like a single mom when you are married to someone who isn't home much. I think you need that break sometimes to get through it. It may help for you to hire a sitter for a couple of hours when he's gone for work.

Best of luck to you, S.!


Well, I don't think my response will be very comforting; but it's too bad you have children with your husband....makes it so hard when things go down and you need out. I have always believed and have learned first hand....once a cheater....always a cheater. :o( I think I would have questioned his character when I had started dating him and he was still married; but I really don't know for sure if he was still married to his ex-wife at the time or if they were already divorced. (This coming from your story) I know we cannot help who we fall in love with; so it's not that simple....I know. I didn't mean to be harsh/rude or hurtful, just that it sounds a little weird to me that he has begun to have you not call anymore and has made excuses that you 'cannot cope with Home issues'. Also the fact that all of the other guys are treating you a certain way....obviously he's been talking ill of you. Even if he's not having an affair, again, it's still not right that he treats you this way and talks about you to others. I would confont him on it and ask him straight up about everything. Just my opinion....good luck. :0)

OMG girl...you need to tell him something!! What if there is an emergency with one of your kids or with you...you'll just have to wait till he comes home. That's ridiculous. Sometimes my boyfriend will be out and I can't reach him cuzz his phone isn't charged or something, but I tell him he needs to keep it available in case I need him for something with the kids. He totally agreed. Maybe you need to just sit him down and have a serious discussion about what you need and how you're feeling. Beleive me...communicating makes the situation 100% better, if both of you are putting your all into it, you know. Just try to talk to him first. Good luck!

Have you sat him down and truly talked to him how this makes you feel? I think he might be hiding something. there has to be a reason he is basically shuttin you out.
time to start asking some serious questions.

This is a tough one...

I had a similar issue in reverse with my husband. I worked 7-4PM and my husband would call me so often it was irritating the people I worked with. I personally was feeling attacked and harrassed by all the calling and the complaining that went along with them. I confronted my husband and he was very upset with me for some time. Now he keeps the calls and texts to a minimum, but we still check in with each other during the day.

I suggest looking at yourself quite honestly. Be truthful to yourself about how often you are calling him and what the content of those phone calls are. Are you calling so much that his co-workers are irritated without him having to say a word? Are you chiding him and complaining about things? Are you making him feel guilty for not being there?

There are always two sides to every thing. Once you are sure about you then sit down and talk with him. Find out his side. Once you know both then you can move forward and reconcile.

Keep us posted. :) *hugs*

I cannot sympathize with this situation...as I have not been in it..but from an outsiders point of view this seems strange.

I think communication is a cornerstone of a marriage and I think there needs to be a talk to straighten this out.

You have every right to vent to your husband about your family which is of course his family. I find it strange that he cuts himself off from his family for days. I would think he would be interested in what is going on while he is gone!!

I think you should put the responsibility on him..if he doesn't want you to call him...then he should want to call you at least once a day to check in on his wife and his children.

So I think it's time to get that cell phone going again so you can keep in touch. Maybe even just go out and get him one and give it to him as a "gift".

And one last piece of advice...love him while he's home and try not to resent his being gone. We all have hardships in our day. Sometimes ours seems so much harder than our partner's even though it's not!! And at least, at least once a month while he is home go out with the girls and get away from everyone and enjoy yourself as youself!! And at least once a month if not more get a sitter and go out with your cutie firefighter husband and show him you want to be with only him!!

I hope this helps and I didn't get to personal!!


Remember you are married to a warrior and you have to let him do his duty. Look at it from his perspective; he can't do anything from work and he feels helpless. Men do not like to feel helpless. Look to the other firefighter moms for support. Good luck.

He may get hasseled by the guys for having his wife call. Or maybe the stress of the job is enough without hearing about stress at home. I'm not sure. My husband HATES when I call him at work too. More than that he cringes when I begin to complain about stuff at home. Maybe try writing in a note book all of the complaints you have, instead of calling. You can decide to show hem when he gets home. You actually may not even think it's that big of a deal by the time he's done working. Two days would be rough, but usually men are pretty simple. If they ask for something specific, they really want it done that way. I'll bet if you stop calling, he will be much happier when he gets home. Hope it works out.

OH AND I SECOND "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" Best thing that ever happened to my marriage. I've read it twice. I love that book.

Hi S.,
I have read the others responses and everyone has given you great advice! This really sucks for you and I'm sorry. I would trust your instincts and if you feel like something is weird, then it is! He is pushing you away. I think you should seriously look into talking with a marriage counselor with him. I don't know how he interacts with you and the kids when he's home from his shifts, but if he plain ignores you when he's at work, I'll bet it carries over to when you're together. I suspect he has things to hide and I think you feel this deep down. If he loves you and wants your marriage to work he will put forth an effort and accompany you to therapy. You have received a ton of great advice. Be strong and remember, no matter what the outcome, he is not responsible for your happiness, you are! best wishes!

It is understandable that he does not want you to call him at work to complain or unload on him. Men are much different than women are regarding communication. Having a good network of girlfriends is a better place to vent those frustrations. It is NOT ok for him to have no contact with you for 2-3 days and to have cancelled his cell phone however. You are his family and he should at least want make a call home once a day to check up and just say hi to you and the kids. Maybe you could make a compromise with him. Promise that you will not vent, unload, complain or nag when he calls home and request he call you once a day so that you and the kids can say hello to him. When he does call (get him a new cell phone), make sure you have a quick, pleasant conversation so that he can talk and then get back to work. It's worth trying. I can't imagine not talking to my husband or having my kids not talk to their dad when he is away on business trips.

My husband works out of the country for 2-3 weeks straight each month. To avoid the costly long distance calls for me, he calls me at least once per day, we e-mail regularly, and he does on-line chatting with our oldest son. If there were an emergency, I know I could call his local office, and be able to get a message to him.

We have lots of friends who are firefighters, and they all have cell phones for contacting their family. They also call home each day at least once to check in on their families. As sad as it sounds, it seems your hubby might be trying to hide something (and has convinced his co-workers that he has a good reason to do it). My father had many "girlfriends on the side" while my parents were married, and even at age 9, your daughter may be seeing the signs too. Please don't let your daughters believe that all husbands treat their wives like this.

Your husband doesn't have a cell phone? I find that very hard to believe. Are you sure he has one and just isn't hiding it from you? I think you husband has some serious issues he needs to work out. I'm curious to know what he is like when he's not working?

It sounds to me like you could do a lot better.

E. M.

Hi S.,

My husband is a firefighter also on the exact same schedule. He is a Battalion Chief, so is very busy. When I have to call him, I call him on his cell. He is very short with me when I call, but polite. I've had to come to understand it as his job. Unfortunately when he is away for the two days that's his job and when I'm at home with the kids, that is my job. I'm responsible in finding my own help. Oh, by the way, I have an 8 year old and a 2 1/2 year old with Down Syndrome. So anyway, for my sanity, I do leave my 2 1/2 year old, Jayden, with someone twice a week. The nights can be hard though. It is so much easier when my husband is home during the 4 days. He helps out a lot (when he's not working on projects around the house). He'll take Andre, the 8 year old, to school so I don't have to drag Jayden out also. He'll help put the kids to bed also. It is a big difference when he's home. Balancing of the schedules between us is constant. A lot of times, Tom, my husband, has to go into work on his days off for meetings. I hate that!
It's also been shared with me that we can't use our husbands as sounding boards, they can't handle it. Their men. We need to use our girlfriends to vent off of. A lot of times they will help more than you expect too.
I remember when I had my first, Andre and he was colicy. I would call Tom at work just so he could hear him screaming. But really their helpless at work. It's not fair for me to do that to him. But hey, I was a new mom and insane.

Anyway, that's my advice and experience. Feel free to vent with me. Just take breathers(time-outs for yourself) and try to stay in the moment.


"One final worry is that this is how he treated his ex-wife when he and I began dating. Maybe I am just being paranoid. Any words of wisdom?" (your quote)
You started dating him while he was married?? No your not paranoid your gut feeling is usually correct...and girl what goes around comes around.


i feel for you - having that connection with your husband is very important and reassuring to you. The fact that he is dismissive of it and somewhat hostile about your needs/request only adds insult to this problem.

From his perspective, he may feel it is unnecessary to do the check ins (believes in your ability and competence to manage things while he is away), he may want to stay focused on his work, and/or he may want the break from family responsibilities.

The key to a loving marriage is one that has some room for negotiation, compromise and support. The calls seem to trigger his anxiety (things are not going so well as I thought) and yours too (he doesn't seem to need/want me). Both of you will have to get off this roller coaster - find a way to talk to him that will not put up his defenses. I suspect that he would NOT be open to marriage counseling (most firefighters tend to avoid this like the plague!). There are some excellent books that you can read - any by Gottman. I also love the book "How to Improve Your Marriage without Talking about it" by Love and Stosny

You should not put up with this behavior. He is a father, as well as firefighter, and needs to take responsability for his children. Children and family come first, before anyting. Have you considered counseling? Maybe he needs to hear the truth from someone else. Do not hesitate to demand that you and the children deserve as much (if not more!)attention and support as his job. Whatever you decide, just do something, this situation will not get better by itself and will get worse if you let it. My heart goes out to you.

Now, I am not a relationship counselor by any stretch of the word, but to be honest, my initial instinct was "That's not good". And obviously you think so to since you are concerned enough to ask for third party perspectives on the matter. Another worrisome aspect was your closing sentence about the similarities in how how he treated his ex-wife when you two began dating. In real estate it's Location! Location! Location! Well in relationships its Patterns! Patterns! Patterns!

The next time he's at home (off duty) you may want to clearly - and calmly - discuss your concerns and some of your expectations - I mean, what happens if there's an emergency God Forbid (Guess since he's a Firefighter he might have to find out once he gets to the scene). Hopefully he's open and willing to listen. After all, it doesn't sound like being a single mom of three (even part-time) was something you signed up for.

That's my two cents. Hope it all works out and Good Luck!

Its hard to know the whole story. He may have a good reason. However, I tend to think that they are his kids too and what you are expected to deal with is extreme. You must feel lonely and just need to talk with someone who loves the kids as much as you do.

However, I'm kind of paranoid and I'd be wondering if he's having an affair especailly since you state that he just recently has asked you not to call him at work. Also, because he cancelled his cell phone.

Hi S..

I was once married to a ff as well (he passed away). It seems to be pervasive that they do not want to be called at work 'all the time'. This could mean once a day to us...I'd like to find something positive to say to you and somehow balance the scales so you could see 'his side'. However, I strongly believe he is being selfish and single minded about HIS life. Natually, I say this without knowing how often you have called in the past and how (possibly) distracting those calls might have been. But, with that said, the 2 of you should be able to compromise on a time of day (give or take his calls or station duty times) and amount of time to be spent on the phone.

If he will not compromise he does not intend to have a balanced marriage. Instead he has a babysitter, housekeeper, and sexual partner at home -- not a committed give and take marriage. Again, I wish I could come up with a more polite or gentle way of putting it. There just isn't one in this format.

As for the other firefighters, they're just being rude. Guys can be like that. Your husband may fuel this flame by complaining about you -- on the other hand, he may not be, they just might be rude people. That's actually their problem/s, not yours. Ignore it as much as possible.

Bottom-line: If your husband isn't participating in the concerns at 'HOME' he is not taking appropriate responsibility. This most likely happens when he is actually off duty as well. The guy doesn't get what it takes to raise children and keep a positive home life...

No compromise could spell no marriage -- get counseling or live without communication for days on end and eventually have no physical (not just no emotional) marriage...

Dear S.,

I feel your pain! My husband travels 4 days a week. I stayed at home for two years. When I called him at work it was always at the wrong time and he could not give me the attention I wanted. I also felt envious when other moms handed over their children (and stress) from the day to a dad who came home at 5 o'clock.

In our family we have decided that I will not call my husband unless it is an emergency. Also, he has agreed to check in with me everyday. During our phone conversations we do not discuss on-going problems or bring up requests. We simply encourage each other. How did your meeting go? How was the doctor's appointment? etc. We do not talk to each other for more than five minutes. Also, the night he comes home is welcoming and stress free. (This is still a struggle but it is very valuable). If I need to talk to him about my feelings, needs, or requests we set a time aside to do this. If it is a hot button item I sometimes send an email with just the facts.

When I greeted my husband with all my needs when he walked in the door (or on the phone) he felt overwhelmed and did not know how to help me. I wanted someone to listen; however, he felt like I was accusing him for causing all my struggles. The truth is he was not equipped to support me emotionally when it came to the stresses of being a stay at home mom. I found more effective support from other women who had been through my situation or were in my situation.

You can respect your husband’s needs and have your own met. I suggest you talk to him when you are not feeling especially emotional. You might also want to practice what you are going to say with a friend.

Hope this helps!


You are in a very difficult situation - but you did chose to marry a FireFighter... I think you need to take a step back and try to understand his job a bit... I was a 911 dispatcher for 3 years - - - it's not like a regular job - - - the department I worked for had a policy that we were not allowed to take calls and also keep in mind that all of the phone calls are probably tape recorded - if your husband did not perform well on the job they could use a fight he had with you on the phone as a reason to say he endangered people's lives...

I agree though - the two of you need to come to some common ground, but you catch more bees with honey so be careful how you approach this... Just remember he is with you and also keep in mind that you don't want your children to "visit" their dad every other weekend at another woman's house - so there is something worth making this situation a positive one...

If you need more help we can swap e-mails.

Hi S., My husband too is a firefighter with the 2 on, 4 off schedule so I know what you are talking about. I also am a SAHM , but with 2 kids (ages 2 and 4). Regarding the phone calls at work, it could be that someone else's wife calls too much and they are trying to make a change about personal calls. He may be getting major flack about it from his co-workers (thus the rudeness from them), so he's just letting you know. However, cancelling the cell phone is a bit extreme in my opinion. The thing with guys in general that I have found is that when we "vent" to them, they take it as a "problem" that they need to "fix." I would reiterate to your husband at the beginning of your call that you are just venting. After all, though you are in this together, 2 of the children you are dealing with are his kids, so he needs to be involved. If he still gives you a hard time about calling, maybe compromise and give a call at the end of the day. Some stations don't care as long as the call is after the 8-5pm "working day." Good luck and keep up the good work with the kids. - KW

Hi S., Perhaps it is not that your husband does not want you to call but it may be against company policy to take personal call from the fire station. Have you thought of getting a cell phone for him to use to call you? My grand daughter is married to a firefighter. They talk on the cell phone so they do not tie up a line at the station. I'm sure it is not a personal thing, Your husband probably takes a lot of teasing from his co-workers if no other spouse calls the station. I do not think you should have to stop communicating just find a more personal way to communicate and keep your love alive. I am a grandmother (61) I have three children and 6 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. Marriage is a lot of work but there is usually a good compromise.

I think you really need to sit down with him and have a talk about your feelings. It is not fair to you for him to shut you out like that. You need his support as much as he needs yours. Let him know that it is unacceptable behavior from him!

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